Unemployed man wants job – shock!


Sol Campbell - from The Sun.co.uk

"Hi - I'm here for my job interview...?"

Rumours abound that former England defender Sol Campbell is “interested” in a move to Manchester United.  Gasp.

They’re more than rumours, the man has come out and said it himself: Campbell keen on joining United – BBC Sport.

Why is this news?  What it boils down to is: ‘Unemployed man wants job’.

Sadly it is symptomatic of the British media (usually on the receiving end of many brickbats only some unfairly).  They have pages to fill, copies to sell and nothing else to write about.

Yes, it ties in with the fact that anyone at Old Trafford who has defended as much as an argument is crocked.  Campbell is at a bit of a loose end after walking out on the Notts County ‘project’.  A case of two plus two equals five if ever there was one.

There are far too many media outlets willing to lap this stuff up though.  Campbell, despite his recent heel-kicking is still a ‘name’ and Manchester United are about the biggest name in football you can get.

Media budgets are being slashed to the bone.  Investigative, in-depth sports journalism is about as rare as a Heskey hat-trick.  When a story that includes two massive names walks in and plonks itself on your desk what’s not to like?

You see it everywhere.  Recently sacked at Wycombe, former England manager (for a game!) Peter Taylor has “declared an interest” in every job going from Notts County (them again) to Ipswich assistant to the Sally Army shop down the road from me looking for volunteers on a Wednesday afternoon.

Of course he has – he’s unemployed!  It’s a non-story but we, the punters lap it up.  In this internet age we’re desperate for every rumour, hint, clue and possibility that may or may not be happening.  We all know that if every club signed all the players there were “linked” they’d all have 500-strong squads.

It’s not news.  It might sometimes serve our media outlets better if they twisted the old adage: No news is… not news!


Appealing but not surprising…

So Chelsea say they will “mount the strongest possible appeal” to the transfer ban imposed by Fifa.

Arsenal are appealing against Eduardo’s ban too.

Both bans will be reduced (you read it here first).  Don’t be surprised if the words “suspended” appear too – but sadly not of the banning variety, more of the ‘suspended sentence’ type.

Remember that scene in the Indiana Jones movie?  Indiana runs after the sword-wielding natives with his gun… until they realise he has no bullets, and chase the terrified Indy into the distance.

Remind you of anything?  Fifa and Uefa shout loudly but have no bullets…

Chelsea’s ban: It will never stick

So Chelsea have been banned from buying players for the best part of two years: story on BBC Sport website.

At first – and not purely because of an anti-money, anti-big club mentality – most football fans will think “Good” – non-Chelsea fans anyway.

But does anyone expect this to stick?  I certainly don’t.

If Chelsea did, as Fifa says, induce a player (Gael Kakuta) to break his contract then they deserve to be punished.

For too long football has been about the size of your bank balance and not the size of your talent.  Any time a smaller club has something good (a player, a manager even a physio) it’s only a matter of time before a bigger club comes knocking – or more often they don’t even knock, they just take.

It happens at all levels of football.  It’s not limited to Premier League clubs, bigger clubs further down the pyramid just pass the treatment on down the ladder – much like a playground bully is usually bullied themselves.

But it’s just the big clubs throwing their weight around.  Would Kakuta have been tempted to leave Lens by say Scunthorpe or Darlington?

Can you imagine how that conversation would go?  “Gael – want to come and play for us?  You’d have to take a pay-cut and… Gael?  Gael?  Hello?  He hung-up…”

Toothless tiger

Much as with Uefa’s ban of Eduardo a precedent has been set.  Fifa have set their stall out, backing up their own rules with action.  All good so far.

The ban on Chelsea, announced today, forbidding them from registering players for two transfer windows (effectively until January 2011)and fining them €780,000 is a strong and determined stance.

Chelsea have 21 days to appeal.  If they don’t I will be flabbergasted.

The thing with the big clubs is they have big lawyers.  An appeal will be lodged.  All it will take is a few mentions of the Court of Arbitration for Sport; “restriction of trade” and so on.

Again, the precedent has been set.  Roma were punished similarly over the signing of Phillippe Mexes.  Their appeal saw the ban halved and the fine substantially reduced.  Don’t be suprised if the same happens here.

If it does the ban is effectively useless and Fifa, once again, shown as toothless in their attempts to prevent the big clubs bullying everyone else.

If Chelsea’s ban is halved they’re banned from just one window (this coming January 2010).  The January windows are usually a course of last resort for struggling clubs and/or those that have changed manager and need a change of personnel.

Any decent players are usually so tightly bound into a contract and/or Cup-tied for important European matches that the big clubs rarely do business in January.

Fining Chelsea a few hundred thousand euros is the same as the FA fining multi-millionaire footballers a few thousand pounds for breaching their rules.  A mere drop in a vast ocean.

It’s almost as if Fifa dish out hefty punishments knowing they’ll be reduced on appeal.

As any sports coach will tell you, feeling beaten before you even begin is the first step to certain defeat.